I know I probably shouldn’t share these as often as I do, but sometimes I get so excited about where the story is headed, I want to share it with you. So I hope you will enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I Am Really Bad At Coming Up With Titles
It was storming the day I met him. The type of storm that creeps up on you. The type the meteorologist failed to mention on the morning news. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t sunbathing on a dock, but if that storm hadn’t passed through I might not have met my neighbor, the owner of the lake house next to the Air B&B I was renting. Fate has a funny way of showing us what is meant to be always finds a way.
The storm came in with a vengeance. It was literally sunny one second and thundering the next. The thunder was so loud and the lightening was so bright it scared me so badly I jumped up, completely forgetting that I had untied my bikini top. As soon as I stood up a swarm of mosquitoes attacked me, and I started jumping up and down like a lunatic, swarming them away, putting on a topless show for the man on the dock directly next to mine. When our eyes met, I panicked, losing control of my balance and fell directly into the lake, the last place anyone wants to be during a thunderstorm. I hurriedly swam to shore, and my neighbor was there to meet me with a towel. He politely looked away while he held the towel out to me.
“Thank you.” I said after I wrapped the towel around my body.
Still looking away he replied, “You’re welcome.”
“It’s safe to look now, I’m covered.”
“Are. You. Okay?” He asked, pausing between each word as he turned his head and realized who I was.
“Yes.” I replied unintentionally stoic. I could feel my face turning redder by the second. I cleared my throat, looking down at the sand.
“Look, I can’t believe you’re actually standing in front of me, but we should probably move away from the water, far from the water, like inside.”
I chuckled. “I get the picture.”
I closed all of the windows and turned on the ac since it was still ungodly humid being it was August in Eastern Tennessee.
I threw a towel at him before drying my hair. “I stole a pair of sweatpants from my brother, they’re big on me, but I bet they’d fit you, if you’d like to change into something dry and wait out the storm?”
“That would be great, thanks.”
I rummaged through my luggage, what could I wear that was both comfortable and sexy. “Dammit, why didn’t I bring any sexy pajamas with me?” I murmured to myself. “Because you didn’t think you’d have a need for them.” I responded back. “Come on, Jessica, get it together.” Settling on a pair of leggings and a tight Doors tee shirt, I emerged with the sweatpants and pointed him in the direction of the bathroom.
I watched him as he walked up the hall towards me, the sweatpants hanging low on his hips, and his wet hair spiked. He caught me staring so I instantly complemented the Celtic cross on his left bicep.
He sat down across from me, looking down at the table and started picking at the edge of the place mat. Was he nervous? Of me?
“Are you hungry?” I asked.
I started looking through my fridge and cabinets to see what I could find.
“Are we just going to tiptoe around the fact that I’m in the cabin you rented and you’re cooking me dinner?” He paused, thinking carefully about his next words. “I mean, do you have any inclination at all as to how long I’ve dreamed of this moment?”
“No.” I replied honestly, turning to look him in the eyes. He looked as if he just found out the Browns had won the Superbowl.
“How do you not know that I’m crazy about you?”
Now it was my turn to wear the look of utter disbelief. “Because you’ve read me, I mean you’ve been one of my longest followers, and since it’s a Food/Travel/Life Blog, you’ve read a lot about me. The good, the bad, and the ugly. ”
“You don’t want to run away as fast as possible?”
“Are you insane? You’re real, you bare yourself in ways others don’t, you’re not afraid to be who you are.”
“Yeah, well, life’s too short to be anyone else.”
“I agree, but do you have any idea how rare that is?”
“I’m nothing special, Kevin. I’m just me.”
“That’s what makes you special, Jess. Of course you’re so humble you don’t realize I’ve been flirting with you.” He smiled at me, and I don’t recall anyone ever looking at me the way he was. “I’m just going to have to up my game.”
I smiled, turning back to my meal.
Kevin moaned as he ate dinner. “I’ve never had stir fry this good.”
“I just whipped up what I had, I wasn’t expecting company.”
“Well if this is something you just threw together on a whim, I can’t wait to eat something you have actually planned.”
“I’m going to impress the pants off of you.” I instantly turned red as soon as the statement left my mouth. I threw my head back and closed my eyes tightly, wishing I could just disappear.
He laughed, hysterically, “I have no doubts.”
I met his gaze and arched an eyebrow in confusion.
“I find you adorable, Jessica.”
As the storm raged on outside I grew more and more comfortable around Kevin. The truth was his poems and stories fascinated me, but I never, for one second, thought I entered his mind outside of the blogging world. I threw my hair up in a messy bun and started to clean up from dinner. Without having to ask him, Kevin helped me.
“Would you like a Guinness?” I asked after we were finished.
I walked into the living room where he was standing, watching the storm roll away. “I love storms,” I admitted as I handed him his beer.
“Me too.” He clanked his beer bottle against mine. “Come on,” he said as he took my hand, taking me back outside.
“It’s cooler out here now, it’s nice.”
He smiled at me, “Come on, I want to show you something.”
He took me to this enclosed gazebo on the dock, it had a glass roof so viewers could stargaze, and the sky behind the clouds that were carrying the storm out was absolutely breathtaking.
“It’s so beautiful.” I stated in wonderment.
“I thought you would like it.” I felt him walk closer behind me, so close I could feel his breath on my neck. He brushed my hair behind my ear.
“Permission to be completely honest?” He asked.
“Always.” I turned to face him.
He stepped back, but only a little, he seemed nervous.
“You’re right, I’ve been following you for a while now, but you have also been following me, and we’ve talked as friends for years.
“So I know everything. I know about your past relationships, I know how for the majority of your life you were a caregiver to your mother, and then your father, and then your ex before you even realized he was making you his slave, before the abuse, and I want to kill him by the way. How the hell could anyone know the heart of gold that lies within you and want to break it?”
Tears were streaming from my eyes and he started moving towards me.
“I know how hard your mother’s death knocked you off your feet, but I also know how much she held you back, unintentionally. But then I watched you transform into this amazing woman who gained confidence, who went after her dreams, and is now a well known chef and writer.”
He placed his hands on my shoulders and looked deep into my eyes.
“I’ve read about the pain you’ve been through. Life has not been very kind to you my dear, but you rose above it. You didn’t let it get to you, and look at where you are now. A woman of power, a woman of immense talent, an intelligent, yet extremely kind woman, and it’s so damn sexy.”
The tension between us was starting to grow and I just wanted to stand on my tip toes and kiss him, but he continued talking.
“I just want to take care of you,” he started stroking my hair, “I want to show you nothing but unconditional love. I want to take you to museums, books stores, and cafe’s. I want to travel with you and see your eyes the first time you see Scotland. I want to take you to John Mayer concerts, and write collaborative poetry with you. I want to dance with you in our kitchen, and make you coffee in the mornings. I want to spoil you with little gifts of affection, and since you have also read me and have some understanding of who I am, I’m asking you to trust me enough to let me.”
I closed the distance, deciding that kissing him was the best possible answer I could give him right now. He gently cupped my jaw and brought me back to his lips every time I tried to pull away, after the third time he had me laughing too hard to compose myself. He chuckled right along with me, resting his forehead against mine.
“That’s better than anything I could have imagined.”
“Why didn’t you ever say anything?”
“I knew your were brokenhearted and I didn’t want you to think I was taking advantage of the situation when you were vulnerable.”
“So you waited until I was no longer grieving?”
“No, you’ll always grieve, but I waited until you stopped writing so much about grieving. I knew you were healing. I watched as your posts became more about food and travel again and less about pain and grief, both from the abuse of your ex, and the death of your mother.”
“That took years. You waited for years?”
“I did date other women, but as it turns out, none of them were you.”
“I hope I’m worth it,” I whispered as I wrapped my arms around his waist and laid my head on his broad chest.
“I already know you are.” He said as he kissed the top of my head.
I was going to share the soundtrack to this story, but it would have made this post entirely too long, so stay tuned for a separate post about that.
Love & life lessons,